Swell is the twenty-second issue of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight comic book series. It was written by Steven S. DeKnight and illustrated by Georges Jeanty. Joss Whedon is the executive producer.
Vampires are the hottest thing around — forget hipsters; being a bloodsucking fiend is where’s it’s at! Slayers must take the good fight underground if they’re to avoid any bad press from the general public.
When Kennedy is sent to Japan to evaluate Satsu’s efforts as team leader, they are taken by surprise by some fierce furry creatures who want to do nothing more than destroy Buffy (surprise!), while Twilight remains the captain of the anti-Slayer ship.
Satsu tracks a four-armed monster through the city, after it has attacked Santorio Corporation armored car and made off with whatever was in the truck. On a bridge, she confronts the demon and successfully amputates one of its arms, dropping the item in question. The monster knocks Satsu off guard with its tail, but not before it is zapped by Kennedy. Rather than being delighted in Kennedy’s timely arrival, Satsu’s upset that Buffy sent the “other lesbian Slayer” to check up on her. During the conversation, the monster attempts to attack the two Slayers, but is quickly kicked into the water below. The two talk about Buffy being straight and that Satsu’s “true love” can never be reciprocated. They make off with the monsters bag, only to discover that within is a Vampy Cat prototype doll, the hottest new vampire crazed commercial item.
The now three-armed monster conversing with a man with glowing red eyes, who only promises the monster a quick death as reward for letting the doll get caught. During the night, the Vampy Cat doll comes to life and sneaks into Satsu’s room and climbs down her throat. In the morning, Satsu begins to act like a straight, traditional young Japanese maiden. Kennedy mistakes as Satsu joking around and the two wind up becoming a violent fight, with Satsu verbally degrading Kennedy for her alternative life style. Kennedy, enraged, kicks Satsu square in the stomach, forcing the Vampy Cat doll to be vomited out and discovered. It attacks Kennedy only to have its head sliced off by a confused Satsu.
The Slayers descend on the Santorio Corporation building via helicopter, where they find the entire staff deceased and sucked dry of all their bodily fluids. Checking through the computer files, they are informed that the entire Vampy Cat inventory shipped an hour before their arrival, with half a million of them on a ship headed for Scotland, Buffy’s secret location. This destination is due to the prototype Vampy Cat ascertaining the information from Satsu while it had possessed her, which it sub-sequentially downloaded to the other Vampy Cats. On the Santorio’s freight ship, “Daikaiju”, Kennedy and Satsu attempt to place a bomb on board to destroy the shipment, only to be caught before they could start. Since the entire crew on the ship is possessed by Vampy Cats, they are remarkably easy to dispatch, the bodies quickly crumbling into dust. The Vampy Cats abandon their hosts to attack the two Slayers whilst threatening to devour their ovaries. With the last Vampy Cat destroyed it warns that “nothing can stop the Swell!”
On queue a giant conglomerate of Vampy Cats, declaring itself Legion, tear through the deck of the ship knocking back the two Slayers. It begins to hail Twilight and boast on the destruction that they will bring. Before the fight can ensue Satsu lights a flare and throws it into the sky, the signal for plan B, a hidden Korean submarine that the Japanese Slayers liberated from some vampires. The sub fires two torpedoes at the Daikaiju, thus destroying it, and the Swell. Back at headquarters Buffy and Xander confirm that all the Vampy Cat shipments have since been destroyed along with the factory that produced them; while being interviewed by Larry King, Harmony purports the destruction of the Vampy Cats by the Slayers as another anti-Vampire outlash. From here on out, Buffy wants the Slayers to be more focused, to be more than human and better than the vampires in order to win this war with Twilight. Much to Satsu’s dismay, Buffy does not have any personal words for her, nor acknowledges their relationship as having happened.
- Kennedy mentions Satsu being promoted cell leader not long ago, as it happened in Wolves at the Gate, Part Four.
- Satsu recalls having sex with Buffy (Wolves at the Gate, Part One and Wolves at the Gate, Part Four).
- Despite not being present, Kennedy mentions everybody knowing about Satsu’s kiss saving Buffy from a coma (The Long Way Home, Part Three).
- Kennedy mentions Harmony’s reality show being successful (Harmonic Divergence).
- Alexander Harris
- Harmony Kendall (Only in television)
- Buffy Summers
- Twilight (Only mentioned)
Organizations and Titles
- Korea (Only mentioned)
- Gunyarr, killed by the Swell (only mentioned).
Behind the Scenes
- Translated by Satsu as “Monster. Big #%&@ing monster,” the screaming man has a speech closer to “Wow! A giant monster! Somebody help!”
- Swell was the twelfth best selling comic issue in its publishing month, with 67,575 sales in February 2009 at comic specialty stores.
- Swell won a Diamond Gem Award as “Licensed Comic Book of the Year” in 2009.
Pop Culture References
- Kennedy mentions the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale.
- Satsu has a Moai figurine in her bedroom.
- Kennedy wears a shirt with the Comedian’s symbol, the character from Watchmen comic book series.
- Xander uses TiVo digital video recorder.
- Harmony is interviewed by Larry King.
- Kennedy wears a shirt with fictional character Animal.
Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors
- Although wearing a shirt printed with Animal, from The Muppet Show, the color scheme follows Oscar the Grouch, from Sesame Street, a likely reference to actress Iyari Limon wearing a purple shirt with the green character in a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan convention.
- French: L’Enflure (The Swell)
Letter Column Request
- A Buffy fan named Dillon Dykes wrote a letter that concluded with a wedding proposal for his girlfriend Sarin. The editor of the comic, Scott Allie, then redirected fans to the Buffy Zone column on the Dark Horse website to see what happened afterwards from Dillon's own words.